The Friends of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum
The Friends of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

The Friends of the Smith is an independent volunteer organisation and a registered Scottish Charity, number SC016450.  It was formed in 1973 when the Museum was under threat of closure, when a group of interested individuals fought to keep the Museum open.

Now we support the Museum by:

  • running fundraising events such as book and nearly new sales, Antique Valuation Days, concerts and coffee mornings
  • sponsoring exhibitions 
  • funding conservation of the collections
  • acquisition of paintings and artefacts
  • purchase of equipment
  • providing and/or serving refreshments
  • working in the garden
  • donations and legacies

Special projects include:

  • providing the Gallery Guide service
  • developing and helping to maintain Ailie's Garden, a biodiversity garden in the grounds, as well as general garden maintenance
  • organising a series of lectures each winter

The Friends of the Smith is managed by an executive committee, elected at the AGM each year.  Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact us via the contact form or speak to a committee member.

Two Friends are appointed as representatives on the Board of Trustees which runs the Smith.

Lecture Series

Each year, the Friends organise a series of six evening lectures, from September to March (excluding December).  The lectures take place in the Smith theatre, usually on the last Monday evening of the month, starting at 7.30pm and lasting about an hour.  Tickets are available at the door, costing £5 or £4 for Friends.  This includes a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits after the lecture.

The aim is to present a programme of illustrated lectures in keeping with the work of the Smith, on historic, artistic or natural history subjects, often with a local slant.  We try to appeal to both existing Friends and people who may never have been to the museum before and who may be potential new members.

 Ailie's Garden

Ailie's Garden, opened in 2002, is a biodiversity garden situated in the Smith grounds, behind the museum building.  It is a haven of peace and tranquillity, as well as an educational and demonstration area.  It is named after Ailie MacLaurin (1913-2000) whose parents founded the Stirling Homesteads and who was a stalwart of the Friends' Plant Sale for many years.

The garden has been developed to encourage wildlife, showing the different Scottish habitats (woodland, woodland edge, upland, wetland and hedgerow) and incorporating a small kitchen garden compost demonstration area.  There is a Willow Garden; a Xylophone made from a 40 year old branch of a coppiced sycamore from a 300 year old tree in the Cults Hill Wood in Fife; a mosaic "pond" and a mosaic path; the Balfron Bench and the Wolf Stone.  All of these have interesting connections with the Stirling area.

The Friends raised the original funds to create the garden and now share responsibility for its ongoing maintenance and development, usually raising dedicated funds for that purpose.